We are excited to announce the call for papers for the Symposium on Misinformation & Marginalization to be hosted by the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on October 16, 2023. The symposium theme focuses on the interactions between discourses of misinformation circulated by and about marginalized communities, featuring a keynote by renowned scholar Dr. Sarah Banet-Weiser. This hybrid one-day symposium, to be held both in-person and online, will consist of three themed panels exploring misinformation and marginalization from different angles: gender and sexuality, diasporic communities, and global perspectives on race and religion. See the CFP below for more details.
The submission deadline for paper proposals (extended abstracts of 800 - 1000 words) is June 30, 2023.
Call for Papers
Misinformation & Marginalization Symposium
October 16, 2023
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, organized and hosted by the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP)
This symposium on Misinformation & Marginalization will explore global and comparative frames for mis- and disinformation studies that center marginalized perspectives, investigating how online mis- and disinformation spreads and functions differently within different communities, how it can contribute to further harm in such communities, and asking how critical disinformation studies perspectives like these might transform the field as a whole.
This hybrid, one-day symposium will consist of an opening keynote speech by Dr. Sarah Banet-Weiser, and three subsequent themed panels. The first panel will explore gender, sexuality, and misinformation; the second will address misinformation in diasporic communities; and the third will look at global perspectives on algorithmically amplified misinformation as it relates to race and religion. Each panel will consist of 4 - 5 papers. These three themed areas are enumerated further below:
Panel 1: Gender, Sexuality, & Misinformation
Gender and sexuality are underexplored aspects of mis- and disinformation studies. While gender has sometimes been discussed as a demographic aspect of mis and disinformation spread (Rampersad and Althiyabi, 2020), and there has been significant work done on the oppression of gender minorities via gendered cisnormative policy and ideology (Tripodi, 2022) little has been done in the mis- and disinformation studies space analyzing the gender dynamics involved in the spread of disinformation that is targeted specifically at, or is about, women, femmes, transgender, and gender-nonconforming people. For example, although the “gender critical” movement, whose members are sometimes known as Transgender Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs), has been variously examined by philosophers (Zanghellini, 2020), gender studies scholars (Thurlow, 2022), and others, little has been done in the mis- and disinformation space about how the ideology is spread using disinformation tactics. Many other scholars work on gender, sexuality, and misinformation, but they have not, as of yet, come together in an intellectual commons. The proposed panel seeks to rectify that.
Potential topics for this panel include:
- Sociopolitical feedback loops between conservative policymaking in the U.S. and platform-enabled hate speech; comparative studies that address similar phenomena in global contexts
- Instances in which women, femmes, genderqueer people, and gender minorities may use purported misinformation to speak back to hegemony
- Explorations and examples of what gendered disinformation may look like in practice
- Intersections between racialized and gendered disinformation
Panel 2: Mis/Disinformation in Diasporic Communities
Diasporic groups are increasingly recognized as populations that are vulnerable to information operations and various kinds of online misinformation. These groups deserve scholarly treatment in addition to studies of the “general public” in Western societies, because the information networks that permeate diasporic communities are transnational (Nguyễn et al, 2022, 2023), resulting from shifting information needs during the integration processes. Such networks are multi-layered, consisting of social messaging apps (Malhotra, 2023), ethnic media channels (Yu, 2017), and a mix of media sources from both the home country and the destination country. Such complexity invites close examinations of misinformation spread instead of extrapolating from general-population studies (Lee et al, 2023). In addition, diasporic groups are subject to targeted information threats by actors from both home and settling countries. For example, migrants from authoritarian countries are exposed to propaganda by the governments of their home countries, yet they are sometimes also subject to mis/disinformation by far-right groups, conspiracy theorists, etc. in their new countries of residence. How immigrants navigate such multicultural and—in many cases—multilingual information systems warrants further research. This symposium aims to identify challenges in researching mis/disinformation in diasporic communities, and highlight new approaches to studying this topic.
Potential topics for this panel include:
- How misinformation circulates within transnational media and information networks
- Case studies that explore the targeting of diasporic communities
- The impact of misinformation in multilingual contexts
- Support for/belief in authoritarianism among diaspora groups
- Case studies or comparative research on ethnic media and information channels
Panel 3: Misinformation & Algorithmic Amplification: Global Perspectives on Race and Religion
From merely biased coverage to utter fabrications, misinformation has become a powerful actor in shaping public opinion (Ognyanova et al., 2020), and has in turn impacted religious, ethnic, and racial minorities whose identities in the Global North and South. Racialized misinformation targets Black communities online using digital blackface (Green, 2006; Jackson, 2017; Jones, 2019; Leonard, 2004) and stereotypical representations of Blackness. Similarly, during the 2016 elections in the United States, the Russian agency created social media accounts masking as Black users, creating racial and political divides to suppress Black voter turnout (Freelon et al, 2022). At a time when COVID-19 continues to impact various communities, accurate and bias-free health and anti-racist messages on the web have also become more critical than ever (Grover et al, 2020). Health and vaccine misinformation and digital violence on social media platforms in the United States (Ong, 2021; Grover, 2020) as well as in countries in the Global South including India (Arun, 2019; Farooq, 2018; Mukherjee, 2020; Menon, 2020; Sayeed, 2021) have resulted in communal violence against racial and religious minorities.
The algorithms used by social media platforms incorporate such biases (Noble, 2018; Benjamin, 2019; Eubanks, 2018, O’Neil, 2016), exacerbating the misinformation problem not merely in English but also in various cultural and linguistic contexts across the world. This panel on “Misinformation and Algorithmic Amplification” seeks to offer multidisciplinary, transcultural, and transnational understandings of how misinformation/disinformation affects vulnerable and marginalized racial and religious minorities in a global context. We welcome papers that investigate algorithmic misinformation on social media platforms, and the state of digital dissemination of information across various axes of difference such as race, ethnicity, religion, and caste as categories of information production, mediation, and reception in the multicultural context.
Potential topics for this panel include:
- Racialized disinformation and its impacts on marginalized communities
- Health misinformation and its disproportionate impacts on minority communities
- Algorithmic misinformation on social media, especially in the Global South
- Impacts of misinformation flows on religious minorities in the Global North and/or Global South
- Deadline for extended abstracts (800 - 1000 words): June 30, 2023
- Abstracts (in .docx or .pdf form) can be sent to email@example.com
- Please specify in the email which panel you are submitting to
- Notification of acceptance: July 15, 2023
- Conference date: October 16, 2023
- Questions, concerns, and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
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